The Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan is Alberta's approach to enhance our position as a global leader in emissions reductions, clean technology and innovation, and sustainable resource development.

Guided by 8 strategic directions and principles, the plan outlines actions, opportunities and new commitments to reduce emissions and maintain energy security. It seeks to accomplish this through collaboration and partnerships, clean technology and innovation, and finance and policy frameworks.

This made-in-Alberta approach is the next chapter in Alberta’s environmental story. It will continue to evolve, supported by industry, businesses, Indigenous organizations, municipalities, environmental non-government organizations, labour groups and others.

Alberta's plan

Alberta’s plan includes an aspiration to achieve a carbon neutral economy by 2050, and to do so without compromising affordable, reliable and secure energy for Albertans, Canadians and the world.

Alberta’s pathway to carbon neutrality will leverage our existing infrastructure, expertise, ingenuity and ability to support emissions reductions beyond our borders. It will be done at a pace that ensures affordability, reliability and safety for Albertans and Canadians.

This will require working with our industries to build achievable pathways to reduce emissions across all sectors and will require new technologies not currently scalable or even viable.

Our approach is to attract investment by creating a regulatory and investment climate that is predictable, agile and certain. It will require building partnerships with Indigenous Peoples as a key aspect of reconciliation, and it will necessitate Indigenous leadership in natural resource and energy development.


Vision, strategic directions and principles

Our vision is to be a global leader in emissions reductions, innovation and technology, and sustainable development of our resources.

The following strategic directions and principles form the foundation of Alberta’s approach:

  • An Alberta plan based on practical, achievable pathways
  • Delivering Alberta energy to the world while reducing emissions 
  • Affordability and reliability 
  • Energy security
  • Partnership with Indigenous communities and organizations 
  • Industrial policy and systems approach
  • Sustainable finance 
  • Conservation, protection and enhancing our nature-based solutions

Emissions reductions across all sectors

The Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan outlines the following approaches to emissions reductions that span across multiple sectors of Alberta's economy.

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Indigenous leadership

Indigenous engagement and participation are foundational to past success in reducing emissions, and they will be crucial to delivering on the Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan in the future.

The pathway to reducing emissions and energy development must include a transparent and trusted partnership with Indigenous partners to enable economic benefits to flow to communities.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Engage and explore partnerships with Indigenous organizations and communities regarding implementation of this plan, including establishing an Indigenous Knowledge Keepers Committee to provide strategic advice as we move forward.
    • Evaluate increased supports for Indigenous participation and investment in clean technology and energy projects.
    • Alberta remains committed to supporting the exercise of Treaty rights by First Nations.
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Industrial carbon pricing

The Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) regulatory system is Alberta’s third-generation industrial carbon pricing and emissions trading system.

Alberta was the first jurisdiction in North America to put a carbon price on industrial emissions in 2007, and Alberta’s leadership in industrial carbon pricing has been recognized nationally and globally as a practical and innovative way to reduce emissions while launching new projects and employment.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Through Budget 2023, invest $800 million in Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) funding across multiple sectors over 3 years for programs that will support jobs, reduce emissions and help Albertans adapt to climate change.
    • Review the TIER Regulation by the end of 2026 to ensure the policy is delivering the intended outcomes of emission reductions while protecting competitiveness.
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Emission offsets

Alberta’s plan is supporting reductions across all sectors through Alberta’s emission offsets, which are generated by projects that have voluntarily reduced their greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Continue to share Alberta’s expertise in emissions trading and carbon offsets with other provinces and jurisdictions to support national and global emission reductions.
    • Investigate a framework for a voluntary credit market in Alberta for activities or sectors, including objectives that support Paris Agreement Article 6 and Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation objectives.
    • Explore partnerships in emissions trading and market linkages with other provinces and jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, to support carbon capture, utilization and storage and clean liquefied natural gas.
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Clean technology

The Government of Alberta, together with Alberta Innovates, Emissions Reduction Alberta, the Alberta Enterprise Corporation, academia, industry and others, is working to develop and commercialize clean technology.

Together, we are focusing on overcoming barriers and advancing technology through all phases of development, from early-stage research to turnkey-ready systems.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Complete comprehensive assessments of technology pathways and barriers with industry and experts for each sector. 
      • Alberta has assessed and will continue to identify opportunities in each sector to reduce emissions, including technology pathways, the associated costs and potential timeframes, and the policies and programs needed to accelerate reductions.
      • Comprehensive assessment of clean technology and innovation opportunities in each emitting sector is fundamental to setting technologically and economically achievable pathways to decarbonization.
    • Invest $225 million over the next 4 years in Emissions Reduction Alberta to continue to support the development of clean technology adoption.
    • Work with partners such as Emissions Reduction Alberta, Alberta Innovates and the Alberta Enterprise Corporation to support commercialization of innovative technologies.
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Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)

Alberta is uniquely suited for CCUS. We have an established regulatory process and are one of only a few jurisdictions that have the geology to store enough CO2 to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. A long and growing list of CCUS projects has been proposed in Alberta, and 25 CCUS hubs for evaluation were awarded in 2022.

These hubs could facilitate decarbonization plans for the oil sands and for industries that include power, clean hydrogen, petrochemicals, upgrading and refining, cement, steel, fertilizer, biodiesel production and gas processing. These projects, worth billions of dollars, will position Alberta to reduce emissions domestically while allowing Alberta’s products to compete strongly in a global market.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Continue to share Alberta’s expertise and experience in Alberta, Canada and internationally to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, including investing $3 million to establish a new hub to share CCUS knowledge, led by the International CCS Knowledge Centre. This centre will help to assess and identify best practices and frameworks to get CCUS projects to final investment.
    • Work with the federal government on a coordinated approach for carbon capture, utilization and storage incentives.
    • Through Budget 2023, allocate the $387 million reserved over 5 years for investments in future carbon capture, utilization and storage projects.

Emissions reductions by sector

Alberta’s leadership will continue with key commitments in each sector of the economy.

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Oil and gas - conventional, oil sands and bitumen beyond combustion 

Alberta’s oil sands represent 95% of Canada’s oil reserves, and in 2021, Alberta produced 62% of Canada’s natural gas and 85% of Canada’s oil and equivalent. Ensuring Alberta continues to responsibly produce our resources while reducing our emissions footprint is a cornerstone of this plan.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Continue to share Alberta’s experience and learnings on methane emission reductions from the oil and gas sector with other jurisdictions.
    • Engage stakeholders, Albertans, and Indigenous organizations to assess potential pathways to achieve a provincial 75 to 80% methane emission reduction target from the conventional oil and gas sector by 2030 (from 2014 levels).
      • The pathways will use a combination of regulations, market-based incentives and programs, complemented by continuous improvement in measurement and reporting.
      • It will focus on cost-effective, outcome-based approaches.
    • The Alberta Energy Regulator will evaluate recommendations to improve efficiency of its directives and reducing red tape to support methane emission reductions in the conventional oil and gas sector. 
    • Continue to advance technology and innovation through the TIER regime, and enable emissions reduction strategies that encourage the replacement of higher-emitting fuels in Asia with environmentally responsible Alberta energy.
    • Explore reducing the provincial legislated oil sands emission limit and implementing regulations that align with the Pathways Alliance targets to reduce net emissions in the sector for 2030, 2040 and to achieve neutral carbon emissions by 2050.
    • Explore means to support bitumen beyond combustion research and development, including technology development and policies regarding demand for bitumen beyond combustion products, such as carbon fibre and strong, resilient asphalt.
    • Explore ways to enhance Indigenous participation in projects for bitumen beyond combustion.
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Alberta’s economic and energy future requires a diverse electricity grid that is resilient during high demand periods.

By following a strategic path towards decarbonizing Alberta’s electricity sector that focuses on reliability and affordability, we will maximize the use of current infrastructure, reduce the risk of stranded assets, incent technology development and deployment and provide high quality jobs.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Continue to work with consumers, industry and regulators on approaches to support new technologies, including storage and demand side management that will improve the efficiency, reliability and fairness of Alberta’s electricity system while also supporting emissions reductions. 
    • Review Alberta’s distribution and transmission policies to ensure ongoing reliability, affordability and coordinated efforts to increase efficiency.
    • Explore diversification of low-emitting technologies in Alberta, including CCUS, hydrogen and small modular nuclear reactors to provide a more robust electricity grid going forward.
    • Support Alberta's Hydrogen Roadmap’s identification of hydrogen-fired gas turbines, combined-cycle gas turbines, and fuel cells as playing a role to reduce emissions in the electricity sector while maintaining grid reliability.
    • Work with other provinces to ensure the appropriate regulatory framework is in place should the private sector pursue small modular reactors.
    • Advocate for meaningful federal financial support to maintain affordable, reliable electricity while moving toward low-emitting generation.
    • Consider energy management to supports to continue driving energy efficiency and emission reduction projects in industrial and commercial facilities.
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Geothermal is a clean, renewable source of energy that has the potential to help Alberta meet its demand for power and heat, including but not limited to enhancing energy and community resiliency for Indigenous and remote communities.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Work to position Alberta as an international geothermal hub by engaging with industry, academia, Indigenous communities and other stakeholders by advancing technology and promoting its adoption at a global scale.
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Alberta’s resources enable large-scale production of low-cost and low-carbon intensity hydrogen, also known as clean hydrogen, that is highly competitive in the rapidly growing global hydrogen market. Alberta is already Canada’s largest hydrogen producer. 

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Review the accepted expressions of interest received in early 2023 from parties interested in providing information about designing, building, operating and owning hydrogen refuelling stations to primarily serve the heavy-duty transportation sector, and determine conditions that need to be in place for private industry to develop these stations.
    • Continue to implement the Hydrogen Roadmap to achieve provincial outcomes, with initiatives that include:
      • exporting 2 million tonnes per year of clean hydrogen and hydrogen carriers to global markets by 2030
      • using existing natural gas infrastructure to blend hydrogen in low volumes with natural gas for residential and commercial utility heating
      • enabling the transition of heavy-duty diesel vehicles to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
      • enabling the addition of carbon capture, utilization and storage to hydrogen production facilities to reduce emissions by 12 million tonnes per year
    • Support innovation by investing $25 million from the TIER fund in Emissions Reduction Alberta to support investments in hydrogen development and the hydrogen value chain.
    • Work with stakeholders to address hydrogen and ammonia transportation challenges and access to global markets.
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Critical minerals

Demand for critical minerals is growing globally in response to population growth, advancing technology and the global shift to a lower carbon economy.

Alberta’s abundant resources, infrastructure and expertise in responsible resource development position the province to be a global supplier of choice to support energy security.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Continue to enhance the public geological knowledge base to help governments, the public, industry, landowners and Indigenous peoples better understand Alberta’s resource potential.
    • Continue efforts to create a competitive business environment and to attract investment in critical minerals.
    • Focus work on a strategic list of minerals identified from the Canada and United States list of critical minerals.
    • Explore efforts to support Alberta’s helium industry, through outreach efforts with the federal government.
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Circular economy and waste

Circular economy solutions can contribute to widespread environmental, economic and social benefits by reducing the impacts of material production, processing and disposal, as well as supporting economic diversification into lower-emissions products.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Establish an extended producer responsibility system to manage single-use plastics, packaging and paper, and hazardous and special products by 2025.
    • Continue to support industry innovation, stewardship and accountability for plastics end-of-life management.
    • Establish Alberta as the western North America centre of excellence for plastics diversion and recycling by 2030, including:
      • research and development for advanced chemical and renewable low-carbon plastic recycling
      • putting province-wide plastics recycling and diversion systems in place
      • cross-jurisdictional coordination of plastics diversion and advanced recycling that achieves critical economies of scale
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Bioenergy, transportation and buildings

Bioenergy can be used as a blending agent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of traditional fuels. This offers a promising pathway to reduce emissions without substantially changing established infrastructure, consumer behaviour and in-place technologies.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Engage stakeholders to explore the establishment of a low-carbon gaseous minimum blend rate for utility natural gas, including renewable natural gas and/or hydrogen, and also the development of policy to achieve this blend rate without risks to affordability, reliability and safety
    • Move forward with a new tax credit program for corporations investing $10 million or more to build or expand agri-processing facilities in the province. The government will provide a 12% non-refundable tax credit against eligible capital expenditures. 
    • Engage stakeholders to review the Renewable Fuels Standard Regulation, looking at increases to minimum requirements for blending for ethanol and bio-based diesel and for fuel emission intensity reductions, as well as changes to policy architecture and expanding the regulation to include other fuels such as sustainable aviation fuel.
    • Work with industry to explore how to plan and implement infrastructure that supports the use of alternative-fueled vehicles, such as hydrogen and electrification.
    • Continue to engage with stakeholders to determine if and when a higher energy efficiency tier for buildings should be adopted.
    • Explore education and awareness measures related to energy performance and benchmarking of buildings in Alberta, focusing on new builds and major retrofits.  
    • Assess clean technology, low-carbon building materials and innovation opportunities for residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
    • In addition to $13 million previously committed, invest $15 million over 3 years to support municipalities, communities and Albertans to enhance energy security and reduce energy use and emissions through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre.
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Alberta farmers and ranchers are well established land stewards, and continue to make improvements to lower their carbon and environmental footprint, while improving productivity and resilience to a changing climate to support global food security.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Explore new and existing best management practices for greenhouse gas emissions reduction and removal, including assessing ecosystem services provided by agriculture which are currently not captured in traditional markets. 
    • Implement the new Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership programs, which are set to begin accepting applications in April 2023.
    • Continue to ensure that the environmental stewardship of agricultural producers in the province is recognized and that our agricultural commodities continue to play a major role in meeting global food security needs.
    • Assess opportunities to expand and refine agricultural emission reduction protocols, such as the Nitrous Oxide Emission Reductions Protocol, to increase usability and reduce data burden.
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Alberta’s robust regulatory framework is based on world-leading sustainable forest management principles. A healthy, well managed forest supports natural carbon sequestration, cultural and traditional values, watershed functions, biodiversity, recreational opportunities, and a valuable fibre supply for industry.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Continue to identify forest and forest sector vulnerabilities and lead policy and action plans to address them.
    • Conduct climate change vulnerability assessments of the provincial forest, including tree health and wildfire risk.
    • Adjust relevant forest management and wildfire management plans to incorporate the knowledge gained through climate change vulnerability assessments.
    • Work with industry and academia to advance tree improvement programs in Alberta to support climate adaptation and future fibre supply needs.
    • Expand forest monitoring and evaluation procedures to allow for additional responses that may be required in relation to the specified mitigation and adaptation actions.
    • Work closely with industry to support the growth of the bioeconomy that could contribute negative emissions.
    • Advocate for the use of low carbon building materials and support the industry to improve market access and increase the use of wood products worldwide.
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Heavy industry

Many facilities in the sector in Alberta are emissions-intensive and trade-exposed, which typically face higher compliance costs to reduce emissions and may be less able to manage those costs because of global market price setting.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Continue to establish a range of policy measures and supports to anticipate growth, remove barriers and attract investment in low and non-emitting technologies for Alberta’s existing and new heavy industries.
    • Align reduction opportunities in Alberta’s heavy industry sectors with strategic goals of other related elements described in this plan, including the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction regulatory system, clean technology, hydrogen and carbon capture, and utilization and storage.
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Land and nature-based solutions

Natural and managed landscapes have the capacity to store significant carbon, reducing the level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere while protecting our natural systems and landscapes, and increasing resilience to a changing climate.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Develop a nature-based solutions policy framework that will include various tools to support conserving biodiversity, adaptive capacity and other ecosystem and cultural benefits as well as climate mitigation and resilience.  
      • Assess the opportunities that nature markets can bring to landowners, communities and Indigenous peoples.
      • Continue to remove regulatory, legislative and policy roadblocks and explore tools that can support land stewardship that provides public goods and services to Albertans.
      • Continue to look for opportunities to support these objectives over the coming years, working with partners, including industry, landowners and Indigenous communities.
    • Continue Alberta’s efforts on land-use planning to provide for long-term resilient ecosystems, communities and economies, including nature-based solutions.
    • Work with the livestock industry to develop a policy for grazing leases on public rangeland. This framework will outline the benefits of sustainable grazing management and facilitate the use of tools to support stewardship investments that recognize the value of ecosystems.
    • Develop a strategy to provide clarity on the priorities for conservation outcomes, including establishment of new protected areas and consideration of working landscapes that contribute to conservation goals. Establishing these areas supports Indigenous values, tourism opportunities, and conservation objectives, and is aligned with improving Alberta’s economic future.
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Other actions and opportunities

The plan identifies a number of other actions, opportunities and initiatives to support environmental outcomes, reduce emissions and grow our economy.

  • Actions and opportunities

    • Consider creating an advisory group on sustainable finance to provide recommendations on Canadian taxonomy and the investment framework needed to ensure the right checks and balances are in place and to support innovation in Alberta.
    • Collaborate with employers, industry associations and our post-secondary community to ensure that the skills being developed will meet the needs of the economy.
    • Continue to work collaboratively with partners, including environmental non-governmental organizations, industry, Indigenous organizations, municipalities, labour groups and others, to design effective policy and programs to support implementation of the Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan.
    • Establish a youth advisory group to provide perspectives on addressing environmental issues.
    • Establish policies and programs that are evidence-based, including understanding of the environmental, social and economic impacts of policy choices. 
    • Publish reports documenting the progress and outcomes of the actions taken as part of the Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan.

Support for the plan

The Pathways Alliance is encouraged by the Government of Alberta's plan to reduce emissions and achieve net zero, while ensuring industry can compete globally, attract investment and continue to provide economic growth and prosperity for Albertans and Canadians.

We are particularly pleased with the province's recognition that a coordinated approach with the federal government and industry is needed to compete with the United States, Europe and others for investment in wide scale carbon capture, utilization and storage deployment, essential to achieve emissions reduction goals."

- Kendall Dilling, president, Pathways Alliance

In establishing the AIOC, Alberta has demonstrated tremendous leadership in economic reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples by creating opportunities for Indigenous communities to participate in projects that will drive tangible economic benefits and prosperity for generations to come. These partnerships further enable the integration of Indigenous principles of environmental stewardship with responsible resource development to help Alberta continue to lead by driving sustainable economic growth and reducing emissions.”

- Chana Martineau, CEO, Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation

Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan represents a made in Alberta approach to address the province’s jurisdictional responsibilities for environmental protection and resource development. Emissions reduction and energy development are intrinsically linked in Alberta to a far greater extent than elsewhere in Canada. A Canada West Foundation report in 2022 showed that federal plans, with their national scope, do not fully recognize the implications of their environmental policies on Alberta.

The Alberta EREDP builds on a long history of Alberta actions and accomplishments to reduce emissions to date to further reduce emissions in future. The plan presents evidence that Alberta does not require overlapping federal regulation to do what is necessary to meet net zero by 2050 goals.

Alberta has resisted a net zero 2050 emissions policy statement in the past, despite taking actions consistent with such a policy. The Plan’s net zero by 2050 aspiration is the statement that investors and analysts have been looking for as the overarching signal of commitment to emissions reductions action.“

- Gary Mar, president and CEO, Canada West Foundation

Alberta's Emissions Reduction and Energy Development plan provides a breathtaking list of actions to reduce emissions in the coming years, without impeding economic growth, energy reliability and affordability. I was struck by the progress that has taken place already such as reducing methane emissions by 44% by 2021, 4 years ahead of target and by 40% reduction in the power sector between 2005 and 2020.

Overall, total emissions have fallen by almost 10% in just 6 years since 2015. And there is more to come including an expected 10% reduction of GHG emissions in the oil sands sector with the adoption of North America's largest carbon capture and sequestration project that will enable the development of new products in the future.

With the realistic aspiration of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, the Alberta plan avoids unachievable near-term targets that are impractical without technologies being available at this time. Alberta will make an outsized contribution to Canada and the rest of the world by developing low cost technologies towards successful decarbonization. Given Alberta's ingenuity and energy expertise, it is in the best position to support Canada's aim to achieve net zero emissions in 2050.”

- Jack Mintz, president’s fellow, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Making the substantial emission reductions needed to address climate change and ensure our industry remains a competitive and reliable supplier of the energy the world demands is a massive challenge, and requires collaboration between companies like Cenovus and governments. We are encouraged to see the provincial plan aligns with our 2035 absolute emissions reduction target and our ambition to get to net zero by 2050.”

- Rhona DelFrari, executive vice president, Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability and Chief Sustainability Officer, Cenovus